Thursday, July 30, 2009

TJ has a new blog

Folks -

We have changed TJ's blog to:

Please take a look at it and email TJ with encouraging messages.

God Bless,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TJ medical update with additional prayer requests

Recently, our doctor has informed us that TJ’s lung had accumulated fluids again, thus, she needs a procedure to extract them. It will be her third time in four months, as this is scheduled for today (7/28/09) at 2pm.

Since our doctor switched it to a new and stronger chemo regiment last month, TJ had a second round of chemo last week. Also, TJ will be getting full CT and PET scans in three weeks to verify the effectiveness of this treatment. We trust our Lord that this chemo regiment will be very effective and pray that all good things will come according to His Will.

For the past month, we have searched and continually searching across the country for clinical trial sites. Although we have made numerous calls to various places, we’re having difficulty in finding the “right” trials for TJ. For the past decades or so, the pharmaceutical companies had been focusing on finding medications for the 80% of the breast cancer patients. Hence, the quality of chemo and its deliveries have a long and effective track record. Unfortunately, TJ’s breast cancer does not fit into that category. Her characteristics are known as a triple negative breast cancer. The quality of its findings is still in a rudimentary stage, though a number of companies are now working on researches that could bring positive results soon. Nonetheless, companies are putting forth more resources into it today than ever before. Maybe this is the reason why these clinical trial sites have a long waiting list.

Another challenge we’ve been facing with is that these qualified trial sites have a stringent requirement that leaves TJ and the others wanting to but not being able to participate. I recently discovered these requirements are so specific to their targeted patients that if there’s a one minor difference - one more treatment, one less treatment, etc…. - the patients are not being considered at all. This makes even more difficult for TJ who has been on this road for three years, receiving various types of chemotherapies.

Although we will continually search for the “right” trial sites, I feel we are now fighting ourselves against time. Time is of the essence! The longer we wait without finding a “right” chemo treatment; I believe it’ll put TJ in a difficult health condition. We are coming grips with this thought as we are asking God’s mercy on her. We are asking for your prayers. We pray that:

1. TJ will continually submit to our Lord who knows His children’s needs, and that, she finds peace & comfort only in Him as He is the sole provider for her well- being.
2. Today’s procedure to remove fluids would proceed well at Mayo. An experienced doctor would remove most, if not all the fluids without incurring any additional pain for TJ.
3. The “right” clinical trial sites would be available for TJ, not only to qualify, but also, obtain positive results from it.
4. Lord will protect and comfort our children – Matthew and Hannah as they have been questioning more and more about their mom’s health.

I am in awe with your continued encouragements and support for TJ. Please know that we are fighting this fight every day because of your endless prayers for her.

God Bless,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trip to Atlanta, Georgia

We thank God for allowing us to visit Atlanta, GA last week. Although TJ had a treatment ten days ago, she really wanted to go and see our family and friends who have been tirelessly praying for her.

Our trip did not start well, unfortunately, as our Honda transmission broke down about 100 miles from the Kris’ (my sister) house. Fortunately, we’re able to transfer TJ and the children quickly to my sister's house, so that they could get much needed rest while I towed the vehicle to our friend-mechanic’s shop. We later discovered that there were innate transmission problems with our mini-van. As always, God was in control throughout this ordeal, taking care of ALL our needs.

We got to spend some quality time with my parents and my sisters – Wendy and Kris & James (my brother-in-law). My parents were eager to see TJ, wanting to better understand her health status and discussing about her medical care needs. My parents felt helpless, not being able to relief any of TJ’s pain; they, like the rest of us, want the pains to go away.... They encouraged us to never give up but fight it every step of the way.

It has been a while since I spent time with my dad. We had poignant discussions, mostly focusing on TJ’s health and her treatment needs. The discussions led us to overcome our Korean father-son traditions and kept our focus on the important matters such as, TJ's health, the children and family needs. I am so thankful that my dad (& mom) loves TJ as if she is one of their own. I often suggested that my parents love TJ more than me; I now believe that to be true. As we talked through the wee hours, we asked our Lord to be merciful and to deliver her from this disease. Our hearts were heavy, but my dad encouraged me to stay strong and positive for both TJ and the kids. In return, I asked him to continually pray for TJ, as we are bound to face a difficult and challenging road ahead of us.

As always, my sister/brother-in-law and their children (Andrew & Rachel) were gracious in welcoming us with lots of hugs and kisses. They wanted TJ to relax and enjoy during our stay at their house. TJ rested most of the day, while Matthew and Hannah spent all of their waking moments with Andrew and Rachel, like two peas in a pod! In spite of her physical weakness, TJ was in good spirit and had strengths to enjoy certain activities with me, including a July 4th gathering with my sister’s friends. We appreciate their unconditional love and support....

Both Matthew and Hannah couldn’t wait for the camp at Lake Lanier with Wendy; this has become an annual event for them. For the past month, the kids were talking about sleeping in the tent, eating s’mores, playing with the fire work, etc. During the camp, TJ stayed at my parents’ house while the kids, Wendy, and I spent a few cold nights at Lake Lanier. In spite of her difficulties, TJ visited the camp site to enjoy the scenery and to watch the kids playing in the lake. Matthew and Hannah had a delightful time with Wendy as she had everything ready for them. I barely survived and finally accepted the fact that I'm NOT the "Nature's" best friend!

This blog wouldn’t be complete without thanking our brothers and sisters in Christ at Open Door Community Church (ODCC). As always, TJ enjoys, savors, and cherishes moments spent with the ladies at ODCC; ODCC is our former church in GA. It was great seeing them, and as always, they welcomed us (especially TJ) with open arms. The sisters love TJ with so much passion that I feel it just standing next to TJ (like a 2nd-hand smoker). TJ often says whenever the sisters look at her, she sees their love “oozing” out of them. I fully concur! These sisters are amazing! They truly care and pray unceasingly for one of theirs. During the lunch I can't remember the last time TJ laughed so much that the tears of joy were evident in her eyes. It was a change of venue that I so long wished for: Thank you ladies!!! Reverend and Mrs. Sweet made our visit even more “Sweeter” because they consider TJ to be one of their own daughters. We are so grateful to have the Sweet’s as our fellow brother/sister in Christ, but more importantly, as our spiritual advisors. I often call Reverend Sweet my “Spiritual Dad!”

Although the trip was a bit tiring for TJ, we were so thankful that our Lord was lifted and His name was glorified. TJ had such a wonderful time that she is counting days to visit GA again. Please pray that that time will come soon. Thank you for being who you are…, a servant to our all good and all powerful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God Bless You All.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

TJ's treatment update

Dear all,

It’s been a while since I last updated the TJ’s blog. After extracting fluids from her lung, our doctor has changed her chemo again, believing the current treatments may not be as effective. He has now recommended a new chemo regiment that is stronger and potent to fight her cancer. This new chemo is given once every four weeks.

As you may be aware, each day requires great physical challenge for TJ with never-ceasing pain. She endures them all without complaining, but I know those pains have been overwhelming at times. Her endless desire to fight this fight gives us (especially me) strength, although it breaks my heart seeing her going through it on hourly basis. What’s amazing is that TJ comforts me while she tries dearest to avoid showing struggles to Matthew and Hannah; she desires the family to live a “normal” lifestyle. These days, however, TJ wrestles with simple activities that we take them for granted; such as, walking, standing, lifting, etc – her breathing and coughing become intense with these activities.

With God’s loving words, we should be content with what we know, what we have, and what we do. Also, trusting in Him leads us to be content in Him only! As the Apostle Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Phil. 4:12). I sincerely believe TJ exemplifies these Christ-like characteristics but being in this fight for three years has slowly taken a toll in her spirit and has weaken her body. I watched, felt, and experienced her sufferings more than I had ever known since returning home two months ago. It’s very difficult seeing her bearing so much pain, while I am unable to remove or ease any of it....

Recently, my dad even stated that he would trade his life for TJ, if he could, after seeing first hand of her struggles with the cancer treatment. I appreciate him and the rest of my family for sacrificing so much for TJ, me, and the children. I am eternally grateful for them and continually pray for God’s mercy on all of us.

We would like you to know TJ and I are fighting this fight everyday because of your persistent, fervent prayers. Thank you for caring so much!

God Bless,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recent PET and CT scan results

Dear family and friends:

TJ had chemotherapy on Tuesday (June 9th) of this week. On Monday, per the doctor’s request, she also had the PET and CT scans. Needless to say, we were a bit nervous and on the edge waiting for the results. When we met with Dr. Moreno, he told us that this chemo combination has positively impacted the existing cancer cells. After comparing the recent scans with the ones she took a few months ago, the size of the cancer cells have reduced. The doctors’ were “cautiously optimistic” that this chemo combination can continually provide positive effect to TJ’s overall treatments. Therefore, we all agreed to stick with it for another three-week cycle before performing the scans again.

TJ, Nancy, and I were elated with this results…it has been a long time since we’ve received good news. Although we are thankful to our doctors and nurses, and all the medicines that are available for TJ, our hope still lies within our Lord, who knows and understands TJ’s needs better than anyone else. We will continually pray for the elimination of all the cancer cells; we will rely on Him for all of our needs; we will stand firm in His providence; ultimately, His name will be gloried.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).

TJ and I are grateful to your prayers and love for us. We simply don’t have the words to express our deep indebtedness….

In Christ,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Trip to Bahamas

Hello Everyone!

We’ve just returned from a week of sun, beach, and lots of fun. We thank the Gerlach family and their generosity that had taken us to Nassau, Bahamas (Atlantis) for the past seven days: our time with Nancy and Chris was precious, special, and memorable. Also, Matthew and Hannah enjoyed every single second of the day with Ashley, Adam, and Aaron. The whole week went so fast, that by the time we got hang of the Bahamians’ (Hey Maaan!) lifestyle, we had to pack-up and return home.

Matthew and Hannah spent all day at the pool or riding water slides. Both looked so dark I started wondering if these SPF 70 sun blocks are really effective. It was interesting to see Matthew, who is cautious in nature, jumped into water slides without a concern although some slides looked pretty scary, I think…. He followed Adam and Aaron (Atlantis Pros) and did everything together fearlessly. They slid down on the “Leap of Faith” and tube down on the “Power Tower”. They competed on the “Racer” that I could never seem to beat them. While the boys were doing boys things, Hannah and TJ were spending precious times in the water, as TJ cherished mommy/daughter moments. I also had fun with TJ, tubing together on the “Lazy River Ride” – a man-made river that travels a mile or so – without falling off or being pushed off by TJ. We valued and enjoyed every moment that God allowed us to spend with our loved ones. Moreover, it’s amazing how our loving God protected and guided us throughout the week. After returning home, however, we needed another few days to fully recover from this overseas trip. :)

TJ will be back on chemotherapy treatments Tuesday of this week and for the next two straight weeks. Please pray that these treatments would not bring much pain but rid of all unwanted cells from her body. Our God is All powerful and is All good!!!

In Christ,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Precious time in St Augustine, Florida

Dear Friends and Family of TJ,

It's not money, it's not possessions, it's not accomplishments, but how we love one another in Christ.

This is a lesson I am learning about more and more every day. For many of you who may not know us, we are close friends of TJ and Kwang (Cal) from Atlanta, Georgia. We were able to spend a wonderful weekend with the Kim family in St. Augustine over the Memorial Day holiday. The weather was stormy most of the weekend, so any bit of sunlight we saw, we took the kids and headed to the beach. We all had such a great time. We ate a lot...played a lot...laughed a lot...and hugged each other a lot. It was precious time spent with people we love so much.

TJ and I sat on the beach watching our husbands play with the kids, and for a few hours, I don't think we thought about chemo treatments, hospitals, or cancer. We just enjoyed being together.

Please continue to pray for TJ, Kwang, Matthew, and Hannah. Pray that the Lord will give them what they need for each day, and that they would continue to rely on His supernatural power. Pray that He would heal TJ and strengthen her today. Pray that Kwang may know that God's grace truly is sufficient. Pray that Matthew and Hannah may come to know deeply the Lord who calls them.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields [b] with fire.

10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

In Christ,

Susan Lee (Open Door Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Returned home for good!

Hi Everyone,

I returned home for good last Friday; it’s a place where TJ and the kids received me with nothing less than perfect, welcoming love. Oh God, I thank you for safely bringing us together and pray that we’ll be spending quality time for a very long time.

Seeing TJ at the airport was surreal. After spending months apart and knowing her recent health and treatment difficulties, I didn’t know how we were going to react: she should’ve been resting at home instead of coming out to the airport. As I walked out of the terminal and saw her from a distant, she was sitting at a chair with a big smile, but too tired to get up. With various emotions running through my mind, I just sat next to her with my arm around her without saying much. With her tired-looking eyes, she said, “Welcome Home!” I told her it’s great to be home…, as we both thanked God wholeheartedly.

Before leaving Brazil I had so many things to share with TJ. But, once I saw her, I just wanted to be with her and didn't care about anything else. I felt awkward talking about the recent treatment news, so it took a couple of days before we started sharing. We talked, cried, talked, cried – tears never seem to end. We were discussing our thoughts and feelings and asked God for His guidance. We also realized it will take time for us to understand (within God's time), because neither of us was prepared at all to handle such a life changing event. Finally, we have accepted TJ’s current health condition, trusting our Lord that He has great “Plans” for TJ and the rest of us. TJ already accepted this fact, as she has peace and comfort within her soul while I am slowly on the path to join her. Please pray for us to continually trust in our Lord’s infinite wisdom and sovereignty.

I went to pick up Matthew and Hannah at their school that afternoon. With them it quickly brought back the father-son and father- daughter loving parent/child relationships; an old saying of “blood is thicker than water” is so true. It felt as if nothing had changed, not missing a beat although we have been separated for a long time. Both Matthew and Hannah were expecting me to listen to their “issues” that they couldn’t say over the phone: a simple but important gesture of Hannah wanting me to lay next to her while she falls asleep; Matthew demonstrating new Karate techniques that earned him a “Green” belt; Hannah gossiping about her best friends and her not-so-best friends; Matthew wanting me to teach him how to play chess, etc…. Both of them kept asking, if I am going back again? For now, I reassured them I am planning to stay for a while.

We are in continued awe of your fervent prayers. We thank you for your on-going and encouraging emails, letters, cards, gifts, meals, on and on….Our words cannot express our gratitude to each and every one of you. We pray that God will continually bless you and your family as we re-dedicate our lives to glorify Him and Him alone.

In His name,


Monday, April 27, 2009

Hello, All.

I will never forget this weekend.

It was a beautiful Friday--the sky was blue without a single cloud. It was a perfect day to take a nice long drive. I can't remember the last time I felt that excited about taking a road trip. Things were going so well until we hit Valdosta and my "check engine" light came on. We didn't know what to do...I was calling Hoonie, Christy was calling Dan, Janice was checking under the hood, and Heeyon was reading in the manual. Then we stopped everything and just prayed. "Lord, you have brought us this far, please see us the rest of the way to Jacksonville. We put our trust in You, Lord. We know you are taking care of us, so please guide us there."

We got into Jacksonville at 7:00 p.m. safe and sound. Praise the Lord!

How can I describe how it felt to see TJ that night? She stood in her driveway with her arms open wide, smiling and so happy to see us. You would never know she is battling cancer looking at her. She looks the same as she as always has...beautiful.

We hugged a lot, laughed a lot and took lots of pictures. (Heeyon will be sending out pictures of our weekend soon, so be on the lookout.) We had a wonderful dinner that her mom prepared for us and then we set off for the beach. TJ's friend, Nancy, who's been taking care of her was gracious to offer her beach house to us for the weekend. She is truly an angel and we were so grateful to be able to thank her in person for all that she is doing for TJ. She is an amazing provision from God!

I think the most memorable part of the weekend happened on Sunday morning. We decided that we would stay at the beach and have worship together just the five of us. We went around and shared our favorite Scripture passage, and then we prayed for TJ. We surrounded her with our loving hands and prayed for her, for Kwang, for Matthew, for Hannah, and for her parents. How do you describe the encounter with God that happens when Christians pray together? The Lord blessed us richly in that precious time of prayer. We did not want to leave...

When we got in the car to head back to Atlanta, I was hoping the "check engine" light would be off, but it was still on. Once again, we had to trust that the Lord would see us home. Who else could we depend on?

We were tired on our way back, but our time in the car was filled with wonderful talks about the weekend, about TJ, and mostly about how Jesus is so clearly seen in TJ. Physically, she is worn down, but spiritually, she is at peace and standing firm.

If I had to sum up the weekend in one phrase, it would be this: "In Christ Alone"

Over and over again, we had many reminders of trusting in Christ alone. Even until the end of our trip. Would you believe that as soon as I dropped off the ladies, the "check engine" light in the car turned off on its own? Wow! I know there's no Scripture reference for what happened, but I am sure that it was God reminding us throughout our weekend to trust in Him.

Sorry for the long email, but there was so much to tell. Thank you for your prayers for us, for TJ, and for her family. Please continue to pray for TJ. She begins her next chemo treatment tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. It will last approximately 3 hours. Please pray for specifically from 9:00--12:00. Pray that this chemo will be effective in ridding her body of the cancer. Pray for limited side effects. Pray that her lungs will get stronger. Pray for Kwang, Matthew, Hannah, her parents, and Nancy.

"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy." Psalm 61:1-3

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is the rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:5-8

Susan Lee (Open Door Community Church in Alpharetta, GA)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tumor marker results

Dear Family and Friends:

Today, I am having enormously difficult time updating TJ’s medical conditions because it saddens me to inform you that TJ’s current chemotherapy treatment is not effective; we recently discovered additional cancer cells are in her body.

TJ gets blood works done on the day of each treatment. One of the blood results - tumor marker - was ordered without the doctor’s consent. No one knows who requested it but tests were performed. When her doctors carefully reviewed the tumor marker results – which show if cancer cells are present - the levels have substantially increased. Therefore, instead of waiting until the first week of May (as planned), doctors quickly scheduled TJ to get PET and CT scans. To our dismay, the scan results displayed my biggest concern and confirmed our biggest worries – the cancer cells have grown and spread into other Pleura areas. The doctors have stopped the current chemo regiment and started re-evaluating different chemo options for TJ. Without our loving God’s intervention, we would not have known about the ineffectiveness of this particular chemotherapy treatment: TJ will be back on a new chemo treatment on Tuesday of April 28th, 2009.

I have shared with some of you how greatly distressed and distraught by this news and questioned, asked and prayed many nights to God. I am with a full of anguish one moment and a full of despair another. It is so frustrating why these treatments are not efffective, while other patients are seen better results. It is incomprehensible after so many surgeries and treatments that the cancer cells are not only surviving but also multiplying, even during the treatments. It is inconceivable in my mind after all of these trials and tribulations TJ had to go through, she is still experiencing immense pain and suffering. I have begun asking questions: where are you God? are you there? can you hear us? I do not doubt my faith in Christ and in His all good and powerful sovereignty. But, as a sinner, as a husband, and as a father, I do wonder today – more often than not – the purpose of all this.

Soon after TJ met with her doctors about this recurrence, she told me she didn’t cry or was scared because she heard God telling her “Trust Me.” Instantaneously, TJ felt peace and comfort, knowing that our good and powerful God is with her. When TJ told me about this, I broke into silent tears - I couldn’t bear to hear it. Although we’ve been on this road for over two and half years, I wasn’t ready to hear such a statement. While TJ was standing firm on a solid, faithful ground, I felt my ground is crumbling beneath me. While TJ was proclaiming the goodness of God, I quivered like a lost soul. While TJ accepted God’s providence, I questioned His sovereignty. TJ told me she is concerned but not worried: I am very concerned and extremely worried. Oh God help me! I am so lost without her… How about our children? Tears trickle into uncontrollable gushing whenever I think of Matthew and Hannah asking for their mommy. Please God, I bow down and plead for your mercy and grace. Help me to stand firm in your Word and accept…. I ask all of you, please continually pray for His deliverance from her cancer and that her faith would stay firm in Him. Also, pray for me that I can be a better husband to TJ and a better father to our covenant children. Most importantly, I will be a faithful servant in Christ.

I have been in Rio, Brazil for nearly two months since TJ’s last surgery/treatment and realized I can’t be here anymore; not being there for her and the children is too difficult. Also, being 7000 miles apart surely doesn’t help, so my Brazil tour will end as soon as I get the necessary approvals from DC. My hope is to return home in early May.

I thank you again for your continued prayers for TJ and appreciate all your support in so many ways. TJ and I earnestly and endlessly pray that through it all, God’s name will be glorified and that people will come to know our personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God Bless you!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

TJ prepares for her 2nd treatment

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It’s been over two weeks since our last blog update. As always, we give all glory to our Lord who faithfully takes care of TJ through her treatment and recovery. We thank God for watching over the children, TJ’s parents, and many of you who are diligently praying for TJ.

Since the March 3rd treatment, TJ has been recovering, and is now preparing for her 2nd chemo treatment that is scheduled for Tuesday of this week. During the past “rest” week, TJ spent precious time with Matthew and Hannah, as she also went back to work for a few days: TJ spent as much available time as possible with the children before the treatment.

TJ understands this coming week will be very difficult physically, emotionally and spiritually. She will be bed-ridden most of the week, dealing with numerous side-effects: I asked that you keep TJ in your prayers as she faces another daunting task. We pray that this treatment will go well, without any complications. I plead to God that the pain would be minimal and that TJ’s faith in God would be unwavering during this difficult period. Please pray that she’ll focus on His goodness and His power, as we all are continually praying for God’s deliverance from this cancer.

God Bless,


Saturday, March 7, 2009

First chemo week is done!

Dear all,

We knew some side-effects come with TJ’s chemotherapy regiment, including a high fever. On Thursday, TJ’s fever climbed to 101 degrees as if she caught terrible flu-like symptoms - body aches in bones and muscles, cold shivers, lack of appetite, and on-going fatigue. These symptoms followed into the Friday morning when her fever reached 102 degrees. We contacted our Oncologist who wants to see TJ for additional testing. Although we have not received all the test results, we were told that her blood count looks good; low count is susceptible to bacteria. We returned home, praying that the fever would drop soon.

On Friday afternoon, my mother and sisters from Atlanta drove down to see TJ: it was good to see my mother praying with and for TJ. They also had a chance to spend some quality time with Matthew and Hannah. I wish they lived closer so that frequent visitations could be possible…. We understand many of you in GA/PA feel the same way!

We thank you for thinking of TJ and keeping her in your prayers. First chemotherapy is completed… Praise the Lord!

God Bless,

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First day of Chemotherapy

Dear All,

Today was TJ’s first day of chemotherapy. Everything went well at Mayo and now, she is at home resting.

We left for the hospital early this morning and by the time we returned, it was around 3:30pm. The chemotherapy took approx. 4 hours plus additional 2 hours for blood works and a doctor’s meeting.

We continually thank God for watching over TJ as she receives the treatment, and we pray that no major side-effects would arise during next few days. Thank you for your continuous prayers.

God Bless,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Upcoming Chemo

Dear Friends & Families!

Monday, we had a meeting with our oncologist, Dr. Moreno, who explained to us the details of the pathology report and re-iterated the importance of starting the chemotherapy as soon as possible: we thank God that TJ’s surgery went very well, and her recovery is proceeding quickly.

The doctor confirmed the newly discovered cancer cells to be originated from the initial breast cancer. The new chemotherapy regiment has shown successes on patients, like TJ, that have similar cancer characteristics. This treatment combination will require both intravenous and oral medications on a three-week cycle. TJ’s first chemotherapy treatment will start on March 3rd, 2009, and the doctor is planning to re-evaluate her after completing three cycles – about three months later. We all agreed that the first three-month period is crucial in determining how effective this chemo combination is for TJ. As the doctor reassured us, there are other chemotherapy options available for TJ further down the road, if necessary.

We are asking for your continued prayers:
- that God will deliver TJ from this cancer once and for all;
- that the treatment does not bring side-effects to TJ;
- that TJ will stay healthy until the treatment is completed;
- that the children will stay healthy and be comforted by the Lord during this period;
- that TJ will continually trust in our Lord.

I thank you so much for your fervent prayers. As stated previously, your support and encouragements have been carrying and lifting us everyday. Please do not hesitate to add comments for TJ at the end of each blog, because TJ is encouraged and be comforted by them. However, if you would like to send her a personal email, please send it to:

God Bless,


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pathology report

Dear Prayer Warriors:

God is faithful as He has guided TJ through this difficult and challenging time. Thus, during the past two plus years, TJ’s faith in the Lord has matured as she faced multiple trials and tribulations: we are thankful that our Lord continues to provide our every-day needs.

We met with our doctors this week to discuss the pathology report. After the surgery, our surgeons told us they have found additional nodules near and around the chest area. Today’s pathology report confirmed that these nodules the doctors removed are cancerous. Thankfully, these cells didn’t spread into the bones or the muscles; and, the margins they removed are cancer-free: Praise the Lord! Furthermore, as our surgeon unceasingly searched for additional abnormalities, she found two very small nodules on TJ’s right lung – they were approximately 1 or 2 millimeters. To our dismay, these nodules did come back cancerous. We were devastated when we first heard about it, but had hoped the pathology report would state otherwise.

Soon followed were the days of tears…. With ever-changing emotions that surely included fear, disillusion, and abandonment, God continually showed His faithfulness, sovereignty, and providence; He is all-powerful and He is good. As we were reviewing the pathology report in detail, it became obvious that God had His hands during the surgery. We realized it was the Lord who found these extremely small nodules in TJ’s body; it was the Lord who guided the surgeons to remove all abnormalities; and, it was the Lord who ensured all margins are cleared. As our doctors have stressed, the best means of eradicating cancer cells is by removing them from the body, because no modern scanners or equipment can detect these small cancer cells with perfect accuracy. Our surgeon told us she removed everything that remotely showed it to be abnormal during the surgery. I sincerely believe our merciful and loving God removed all cancer cells from TJ’s body.

In Monday, we have consultations with an Oncologist on TJ’s upcoming chemotherapy and radiation treatments. We ask you to keep TJ in your prayers so that:
- Her faith in the Lord will continually grow as we all pray for deliverance from this cancer;
- God will provide her with peace and comfort;
- God will prepare TJ, the doctors and nurses for the upcoming treatments;
- God will watch over the kids and others who are supporting TJ; and
- She will always seek God’s glory.

Once we determine next step in TJ’s treatment process, we will be able to share with you. TJ and I thank you for all your continued prayers.

In His name,


Sunday, February 15, 2009

TJ returned home

Dear Family and Friends in Christ:

TJ returned home early Friday afternoon from Nancy's, planning to surprise Matthew and Hannah; the kids are not expecting TJ to be at home. So TJ parents had the whole house cleaned and disinfected before her arrival. Also, at home, there were collections of get well cards, mails, and flowers form all of you – thank you! There were meals prepared for TJ by many of you that had filled the refrigerator. Thank you Dawn for coordinating the meals, and all of you for providing delicious, healthy and tasty cuisines.

These days, TJ is getting re-acclimated with simple physical tasks; such as, getting in and out of bed, sitting down at a table, reaching for a book, and most importantly, sleeping on her side. A simple daily task that we all do without even a thought is a major challenge for TJ. Her muscles need to be re-trained to take on new roles and responsibilities to compensate for the muscles that were removed during the surgery. Also, TJ is walking gingerly due to having tubes connected to her side and back. We look forward to removing these tubes early next week.

Overall, TJ is healing very well. She has become self-sufficient in many ways and started doing things by herself without needing my help. However, she still has much pain in the chest and shoulder areas, taking medications on a routine basis. We pray that the pain will go away soon.

We will be getting the final pathology report next week. We ask the Lord to comfort us and bring peace into our hearts.

In Christ,


Thursday, February 12, 2009

TJ was discharged from the hospital

Hi Everyone!

TJ was discharged on Monday afternoon and went straight to Nancy & Chris Gerlach’s house. Matthew and Hannah were sick during the past few days, so Nancy suggested TJ stay with her in case viruses/germs still lurking in our house; because, there is a chance TJ can get pneumonia from a strenuous thoracic surgery. Also, being at her house, Nancy can give TJ care by adjusting pain medications and providing immediate medical needs, if necessary.

We appreciate Nancy and Chris for their sacrifices during TJ’s surgery and recovery. We thank Nancy for accompanying us to the doctor’s meetings, Nancy and Chris staying and comforting me during TJ’s surgery, Nancy spending nights at the hospital so that I could return home to take care of the kids, Chris taking on additional duties while Nancy was at the hospital,….The words simply cannot express their true love and care for TJ. As a fellow brother in Christ, I am in awe of how God is working in our lives through the Gerlach’s faithfulness.

We would also like to thank Mike Euwema and his family. Matthew and Hannah got sick with viruses during this period. Neither TJ nor I were available to take them to a doctor. So Mike volunteered and visited my house multiple times to check on the kids during our absence. When TJ found out what Mike had done for our kids, she started crying…. We prayed and thank God for continually watching over our children. Within His providence and infinite wisdom, He provided a wonderful brother in Christ so that TJ can focus on her recovery. Both children are well now and we thank the Lord for the Euwema’s.

There are so many others who have provided much encouragement to our family: Prayer chain for TJ at Pinewood. We sincerely thank everyone - our families across the country and around the world, our church friends in PA and GA, and many other church friends in Christ that are praying for TJ. We have felt everyone’s prayers and praise the Lord for all your wonderful support. TJ and I could not have come this far without you.

In Christ,


Sunday, February 8, 2009

TJ is recovering well on her 4th day at Mayo Clinic. Since last night, numerous doctors and nurses have been checking her condition. Unfortunately, this keeps TJ from sleeping no more than 1 or 2 hours at a time, but it shows everyone’s keeping a close eye on her. All the doctors are commenting how well TJ is healing from the surgery.

As expected, we couldn’t participate in today’s Sunday service. But, that didn’t stop Pastor and Janice Findlay bringing the service to the hospital recovery room. We thank Pastor Findlay’s condensed sermon (real short) and Janice’s words of encouragement. We also thank everyone at Pinewood and other churches for continually praying for TJ’s quick recovery.

God Bless,


Friday, February 6, 2009

TJ's recovery day 2

Dear Family and Friends in Christ:

It's been less than 24 hours since TJ's surgery started; TJ looks so good that she doesn't even look like she had a surgery :) Nancy reminds me that TJ heals amazingly well and recovers better than anyone else she knows of - this is coming from a former RN who has cared for many, many patients. We praise the Lord for TJ's quick healing genes.

We finally met with our surgeon, Dr. McLaughlin, who explained what they have discovered yesterday from the surgery. The surgeons knew the PET scan and MRI showed two areas that contained cancer tumors; The PET scan and the MRIs don't revealed anything smaller than 1cm. Once the doctors got in to remove two cancerous areas, they found additional cancer nodules growing near and around the original, pre-determined areas. This meant that the surgery area became larger than planned. They removed all visible abnormalities with good margins and believe they got clearance; the pathology report will follow next week. When these reports come back we will have a better idea of the plan for TJ's treatments. Treatment won't begin for 3-4 weeks to allow for TJ to fully recover.

TJ is feeling better and needs lots of hands on care.

In Him, Kwang (finished by Nancy)

TJ's recovery day 2

To all our "Prayer Warriors",

TJ is out of bed and is now sleeping in a lazy-boy sofa. The pain medicine is doing its job because she is relaxed and dozing off well. TJ's mind is sharp as ever and has been talkative since last night. I was really surprised last night when she turned and asked me, "Did you talk to Matthew about his Science test tomorrow?" This was right after 4-5 hours of surgery and 6 hours since I last saw her. I said, "Yes Maam!"

This morning Nancy, Chris, and I are patiently waiting and praying for TJ for her recovery. Also, we are waiting for our surgeon to visit us because we have a number questions we would like to discuss with the doctor.

We thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. God has been merciful, and we are so thankful for his everlasting love and care for TJ.

God Bless,